Virtual Guest Panelist

MARQUIS DCI was invited to participate in a business travel roundtable hosted by Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., at the Marriott Marquis in New York City this past Tuesday, Dec. 10. As forecasted, the snow started falling in the suburbs outside of the city early in the morning, making a drive into the city less than appealing. No worries. Laura Davidson Public Relations, which was coordinating the roundtable, had a back-up plan. Another trade magazine editor (who also lives in the burbs) and I would be Skyped in to the roundtable. The group function of Skype wouldn’t cooperate, so I was Skyped in via an iPad, and my fellow suburbanite was Skyped in via a laptop. They placed both devices on chairs around the intimate meeting room where we could view several of the participants, who could also see us in our home offices on a full screen.

It wasn’t ideal, but we could still feel like we were part of the action — and because the Convene editorial team regularly Skypes and meets via Google+ Hangouts, it didn’t feel all that strange to me.

The purpose of the roundtable was to learn about the new Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, opening May 1, 2014, from the property’s general manager, Dan Nadeau, and Director of Sales & Marketing Bill Wallace, while discussing trends in the meetings industry as they would relate to hotels — and specifically to the new Marriott Marquis. I learned from my fellow journalists what’s top of mind for their readers, including flexible meeting spaces for more casual networking at events and connectivity. And we learned some interesting facts about the new 1,175-room headquarters hotel — an important piece of the convention package DC has been waiting for for many years.

It sounds like it will be a beautiful property. (Our executive editor, Chris Durso, had the same impression when he went on a hard-hat tour last spring.) I can’t wait to see it when it opens. In person.

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